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Couple denies trafficking charges

Griffin

Attorneys for a couple accused of trafficking in methamphetamine are seeking separate trials in the case.

Arlene Francis Griffin, 53, denied eight drug counts, including a trafficking felony, during her arraignment on Monday.

Co-defendant Darin Allan Navarro, 55, denied counts of high-level trafficking and possession of a dangerous drug without a prescription.

Prosecutor Matthew Johnson and Navarro’s attorney, John Malone, agreed a three-day trial should be sufficient. Griffin’s attorney, Brian Filter, said he felt four days would be better.

District Judge Tom Gregory said that until the prosecution files a motion to combine the cases, he would set different trial dates.

Griffin has prior convictions for drugs and theft, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

She was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2018 and was paroled Nov. 20, 2019.

Navarro was convicted of trafficking in 2013 and was released in November 2014.

The couple were northbound on Highway 395 at around 95 mph when a deputy conducted a traffic stop just after midnight on July 5. Deputies allegedly found 15 ounces of methamphetamine during a search of the vehicle.

■ An Indian Hills man is denying three felonies related to a May 4, 2019, shoot-out.

Dallas Tanner Nicholson, 28, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and aiming a firearm at another human being.

A five-day jury trial was scheduled for July 21 in connection with the case.

District Judge Tod Young denied a motion from defense attorney William Routsis to remand the case back to East Fork Justice Court for a preliminary.

Routsis put Nicholson’s former attorney on the stand to question him about a waiver of preliminary hearing Nicholson signed.

Routsis tried to argue that the waiver was a condition of a plea deal, but no negotiation was filed in the case. Routsis then tried to call the prosecutor to the stand, but Young rejected that motion.

“You may have come close, but the court finds there is not evidence that in fact this waiver was based on a negotiation,” Young ruled.

He agreed with Routsis that if there was an unconditional waiver of the preliminary hearing based on a written plea deal, that would have been problematic.

A preliminary hearing is conducted in the justice court and features testimony to determine if a crime had been committed and if there’s a possibility the defendant committed it.

The prosecution must meet the level of marginal of slight evidence at a preliminary, which doesn’t determine someone’s innocence or guilty.

However, a justice court judge may dismiss charges if it’s found that they don’t meet that standard.

Routsis argued that his client was the only one injured in the gun battle where investigators counted 23 bullets expended in a cul de sac a short time before midnight.

Prosecutors assert that Nicholson drew a weapon in a threatening manner, prompting another man to draw and fire on Nicholson, who returned fire.

According to court files, the incident occurred after a confrontation between Nicholson and a woman’s boyfriend.